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Mike8 01-08-2004 12:59 AM

Bellows, Muller, Odelein
 
Taking us back to the early '90s, I was wondering about these players.

Bellows - didn't have a long stay in Montreal but he had a couple good years here, including the Cup win. Over his career, would you call him a top line talent? Someone who could be on a Cup contending team's top line?

Muller - Personally, I felt he was part of the heart and soul for Montreal, and it was a mistake to move him at all. However, while he did put up some great numbers, he was inconsistent offensively. Would you consider him a top level player? Something more than an impact player--a guy you could mold a franchise around? This is talking about his prime years in Montreal, not the mucker we saw in Dallas by the way.

Odelein - I have to admit, I've always had a soft spot for cornelius. Aside from that one year where he thrived offensively, would you say he was ever a legitimate top four defenseman in Montreal?

Like Muller, I felt Odelein was a part of the heart and soul in Montreal. A player who'd defend teammates, defend the goalie, and basically complement whoever he was playing with quite well. I remember Malakhov played some of his best hockey next to Odelein.

Any opinions on these guys would be much appreciated.

tinyzombies 01-08-2004 01:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mike8
Taking us back to the early '90s, I was wondering about these players.

Bellows - didn't have a long stay in Montreal but he had a couple good years here, including the Cup win. Over his career, would you call him a top line talent? Someone who could be on a Cup contending team's top line?

Muller - Personally, I felt he was part of the heart and soul for Montreal, and it was a mistake to move him at all. However, while he did put up some great numbers, he was inconsistent offensively. Would you consider him a top level player? Something more than an impact player--a guy you could mold a franchise around? This is talking about his prime years in Montreal, not the mucker we saw in Dallas by the way.

Odelein - I have to admit, I've always had a soft spot for cornelius. Aside from that one year where he thrived offensively, would you say he was ever a legitimate top four defenseman in Montreal?

Like Muller, I felt Odelein was a part of the heart and soul in Montreal. A player who'd defend teammates, defend the goalie, and basically complement whoever he was playing with quite well. I remember Malakhov played some of his best hockey next to Odelein.

Any opinions on these guys would be much appreciated.

They were all over the hill by the time they left Montreal. The guys we should have kept are well documented: Chelios, Lemieux, Carbonneau, Leclair, Desjardins, Roy...sigh...

mcphee 01-08-2004 03:04 AM

Bellows could always put the puck in the net. I remember hearing of him in Jr. as 'the next superstar'. He had a solid career but was never what he was projected to be. He was a top line player though I remember murmurs that he wasn't too fond of practice and was never a coach's favorite. I think Bellows is a pretty intelligent guy who tended to go his own way. When he got to Mtl. he played well though his best days were probably behind him.

Muller was exactly what the Habs needed while he was here. They needed a guy whose work ethic led the team. Richer 's act had worn thin, and a no controversy hard working type helped point the team in the right direction. I don't say this in criticism of Richer, who I was a fan of, but the time had come. When Muller was traded for Turgeon, it was time. He had lost a step and couldn't keep up with the opposition's top line anymore. Like Turgeon or not, I thought that he was a step up at the time.

Odelein was the type of player I've always liked. You don't see an obvious talent but he managed to have an excellent career. I always felt that he was kind of mis represented as to style. While he was an effective fighter, he wasn't really a physical presence as far as body checking. He didn't have the leg drive imo. He was an underrated puckmoving D man. His fighting tended to get him labelled as a tough physical type, while I never felt this was the case. His trade for Richer was a good example of why a GM shouldn't listen to his coach. Top 4 ? I guess. Like Rivet, he was best suited as the weaker of a decent pair, not talented enough to lead but well suited to a complimentary role. Actually, like Quintal too .

scosar 01-08-2004 03:54 AM

Well Bellows was a big star with Minnesota. He was a consistent scorer before he came to Montreal.

Muller on the other hand was picked second overall in the draft behind some guy named Mario. He was the heart and soul behind the New Jersey Devils when they went from being a Mickey Mouse franchise (Wayne Gretsky's comment) to being the consistent powerhouse they have become.

Bob Bastards 01-08-2004 04:29 AM

I heard on TV the other day that Bellows was like the 5 on the list for the player with the more goal before 20 year. He was after Gretzky and I don't remember who, but was before Mario Lemieux. If I remember correctly he have 76 goal before 20 year old...

Darz 01-08-2004 04:58 AM

Bellows
Bellows imo was a top line player and a much better asset than Courtnall. That was a great trade by Serge. Bellows was a sniper plain and simple. He never quite lived up to the hype surronding him as a junior mind you.

Muller
Muller was quite simply one of the best habs players of the last 20-25 years. He did everything that you could ask from a hockey player and more. He wasn't a top player in any category, but he was good and all facets of the game. He was a great captain and outside of Roy maybe the biggest reason we won the cup in '93. The day we traded him was a sad day indeed and imo a mistake. Regardless of the return players like Muller should never be traded. Muller loved the city, the team and made players around him better. It's no coincidence that the franchise took a turn for the worst soon after his departure.

Odelein
I was always a fan of Odelein's and definately saw him as a top four defenseman. I was always impressed with how Ode was able to improve his game in the early years. Early on in his career it looked like he was going to be a #5/#6 dman at best but improved year after year to the point where he became a very valuable asset. Trading him for Richer was a horrible move and one that haunted us for years after.

PrairieHabber 01-08-2004 05:13 AM

I remember these players days in Montreal like it was yesterday. Excellent thread, thanks for the question.

Bellows: A goal scorer, pure and simple. When he was traded to Montreal prior to their Cup year in '93 he was 3 years removed from his career-high 55 goal season. He had 40 in his first year in Montreal and he and Damphousse made a tremendous impact on that Habs offence that first year. The addition of Bellows, Damphousse, Muller and Demers' coaching style resulted in 59 more goals scored by the team in 92-93 than the previous season. Bellows was great on the PP. He was a pure scorer and usually seemed to position himself well. The puck followed him. He wasn't the greatest scorer but he had an excellent shot. He was solid on his skates, and while not not big, he was stocky. And, yes he had 76 goals by the time he was 20. These days it takes most players 5 years to hit 70 goals.

Muller: A tremendous leader. It was great to see him wear the CH again at the Heritage Classic. He was decent offensively but most of his points came from hard work and determination. I followed his career from the time he played for the Olympic team and was thrilled when the Habs obtained him. That deal with NJ was one of Savard's best. However, Muller's production dropped off dramatically around the time of his trade to the Isles. He would still work hard and be a decent PK'er but it amazed me how he went from being a decent 2nd line forward to a marginal 4th liner in a hurry. I agree with mcphee and feel he was on the rapid decline when the team traded him to the Isles. The Habs did miss his leadership and grit though. In that deal they dealt a player on the decline (Muller) and a dressing room cancer (Schneider), and obtained two of the more talented players available in Turgeon and Malakhov. Ironically Houle would later over-react and trade the talented Turgeon for a gritty leader in Corson.

Odelein: I went to college with a guy in SK who played in bantam against Odelein. He couldn't believe it when he made it to the NHL. I remember in Odelein's first camp the coaching staff wasn't sure he would even make their farm team in Sherbrooke. Odelein is the poster child for what hard work can do. He worked on his mobility and found a niche and as a result became a valuable guy on the blueline. He would defend any team-mate and played a solid game. He was an excellent #4 guy who surprised all of us with his offensive outbursts at times. Like the Muller deal to the Isles the Habs traded grit and leadership for talent when they reacquired Richer (a bad move imo).

This little walk down memory lane was great. Thanks again for the question Mike.

Joe Maximum 01-08-2004 05:29 AM

Bellows a sniper????

I seem to remember Brian Bellows as the king of ugly goals in his stay in montreal...

CHareth 01-08-2004 05:32 AM

Seems like so long ago ... interesting trio you selected here, Mike8.

Bellows - Wasn't crazy about the guy, but I respected his offensive instincts and liked the fact that he was a pretty good sniper for the Habs. Over his career, would I call him a "top line talent? Someone who could be on a Cup contending team's top line?" Definitely. He scored over 1000 points in just under 1200 NHL games, which is nothing to sneeze at, even if they came during the high-scoring 1980s. As you pointed out, he was on the Stanley Cup winning team in 1993 and was also there for a couple of good playoff runs by Minnesota. I wouldn't elect him to the HOF, but how about the "Hall of Pretty Damned Good"?

Muller - During his years in Montreal, I would rate him as an impact player. By the time he was traded, he was showing some inconsistency and was on the decline offensively. But even when he was not racking up the points, he was always a warrior. The man lived on the boards. Lived there! And it was a pleasure to watch someone battle that hard for the good of his team. He will forever be vilified by Islanders fans, but for the same reason, I think a lot of Habs fans will have a soft spot for him, as we were as sorry as he was that he had to leave. He was part of the heart and soul for Montreal for sure.

Odelein - He looked like an egg (or Cornelius, as you say), but he was a tough little egg. I was not a fan of his at first, but he grew on me, and by the time he was traded, I had grown to really appreciate what kind of player he was and boy was I disappointed to see him leave. The reason I came to appreciate him so much was that he was always there to defend his teammates and play the role assigned to him. I remember him being assigned once to aggravate Lindros when Lindros was the dominant force he used to be, and he really got under the guy's skin. It was excellent. Top 4? Well, maybe a #4 d-man, but definitely an important piece of the blueline. Odelein was a great "team" guy, and I always thought it was a huge mistake to trade him away.

Darz 01-08-2004 05:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Joe Maximum
Bellows a sniper????

I seem to remember Brian Bellows as the king of ugly goals in his stay in montreal...

Brian did get his share of the ugly goals, but he had a good shot, and I still would consider a sniper. Maybe not in the Bossy class, but....

CHareth 01-08-2004 05:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Joe Maximum
Bellows a sniper????

I seem to remember Brian Bellows as the king of ugly goals in his stay in montreal...

Bellows went to the net and had a pretty quick release. Doesn't really matter how ugly or pretty his goals were, considering how many he had. I don't recall Dave Andreychuk ever being the king of beautiful goals either, but goal scorers find a way of sniping regardless of the aesthetics.

Mike8 01-08-2004 06:04 AM

Good to see all the insight and memories on these players!

Speaking of Courtnall, why did Minnesota ever deal Bellows for him? Was it financial reasons? I remembered Bellows signed a large deal (in those days, at least) with Minnesota. Courtnall scored in bunches in Montreal and didn't seem to show much else other than speed, whereas Bellows was quite popular in Minnesota at the time and they had invested a lot in marketing him.

Added to that, hadn't Minnesota just been to the Finals, and Bellows was a potent offensive threat for them?

That turned out to be a fairly successful string of deals. Kordic for Courtnall for Bellows. Of course, then Bellows turned into Bureau...


On another note, I was trying to remember an Odelein 'incident' in his last few years in Montreal, where (as I recall) he took a slapshot at the Buffalo bench during a heated and frustrating time for the Canadiens. There were a few hostile games between a goonish Sabre team (featuring Rob Ray, Brad May, a young Matthew Barnaby, Mike Peca and Bob Boughner).

I believe this was the year of the Roy trade, and the Habs had some good offensive talent, then surrounded that offensive talent with some tougher players like Brashear, and Chris Murray.

Does anyone remember this slapshot incident, and the events surrounding it?

I suppose with the Hab teams we've had to endure the past couple of years, I've been thinking back to when the Habs had some legitimate toughness.... :D

habfan4 01-08-2004 07:01 AM

I look back fondly on the Muller/Bellow/Odelein years, likely because of the cup in 1993 :D

Bellows: During his tenure with the Canadiens he was the Habs version of Dave Andreychuk, most of his goals were scored right on the door step with the odd bullet goals from the top of the circles. Anyone know what he's up to now? Seemed like a scholar of the game - I'd be surprised if he's not coaching or scouting somewhere.

Muller: Heart and soul player, the quintessential physical two-way centre the Canadiens have been missing since he left. If the Habs had only landed him 3-4 year earlier.

Odelein - Absolutely loved him (and Todd Ewen). The Habs need a newer version ie. someone with a nasty edge on the blueline (Mr. Cairns perhaps?). He was tough, and worked hard to become a decent (6th or 7th) d-man.

Jyroe Habs Fan 01-08-2004 07:44 AM

Posted by Darz
"Muller was quite simply one of the best habs players of the last 20-25 years. He did everything that you could ask from a hockey player and more. He wasn't a top player in any category, but he was good and all facets of the game. He was a great captain and outside of Roy maybe the biggest reason we won the cup in '93. The day we traded him was a sad day indeed and imo a mistake. Regardless of the return players like Muller should never be traded. Muller loved the city, the team and made players around him better. It's no coincidence that the franchise took a turn for the worst soon after his departure."

Totally agree and well put Darz
I was bitterly upset when Muller left, for those of you who thought he was done when he was traded you missed the BIG point. I will agree Muller wasn't going to score 100 pts a season but he played another 7 years in the nhl. Him and Carbo should have retired as HABS!! They would have been excellent role models for the team like GAINEY AND ROBINSON WERE IN THE '80s. Muller was devestated when he left. He balled as hard as Chelios did when he got traded. When a player bleeds for your team, how can you possibly replace that? I know trade for a gutless wonder like Turgeon. How pitiful. We should of traded Damphousse for another scorer. I will always blame COREY for those conterversal trades not Savard. Corey was an idiot. He always wetted his pants over the soft french flashy scorers over the heart and soul anglo team players.
These past 8 years have been rough, but WE HAVE TURNED THE CORNER WITH THIS TEAM ALL THANKS TO BOB AND CLAUDE.

mcphee 01-08-2004 08:18 AM

"soft french flashy scorers over the heart and soul anglo team players."

I think that maybe you're stereotyping just a little bit. That deal as I remember it was Muller&Schneider for Turgeon&Malakov. I was sorry to see Muller go but I understood why the deal was made. Savard felt that he needed a #1 center and Turgeon was his choice. Muller had lost foot speed, but I guess you can argue either way. Turgeon going for Corson set the franchise back in the long run more than that deal imo.

Mike8, I do remember Odelein seeming to be in a feud with half the Sabre team. There was a shooting at the bench incident, which I believe he was suspended for, but I think Malakov got into trouble against the Sabres around the same time, though I can't remember what happened.

Habfan4, I think Bellows is involved in financial management in some way, whether just his own or in a brokerage house, I'm not sure. I don't believe he has any connections to hockey though.

Jyroe Habs Fan 01-08-2004 08:38 AM

I have NOTHING against french players overall.
My Favorite player growing up in Saskatoon was #10 Guy Lafleur
Roy was a god to me until 1995!
I do not like soft players though, Turgeon, Damphousee.
I love players like Carbo and Muller though.
My point is this is:
Corey was behind the scenes with Savard and influenced in making some horrific trades.
1. A Norris trophy winner with a mean streak and hall of famer for Savard who was over the hill and soft, but flashy and entertaining. I have nothing against Denis but you can't trade Chelios for him straight up. I don't care what the hell Chris did in the bars at night with Corson and Keane.
2. Trade Corson for Damphousse. Another example of a player who bleed tricolour.
3. Trade Skrudland, my prairie friend and excellent 4th line center man.
This guy was excellent on the pk.
I love the Habs team from 86 to 93 minus these boneheaded moves listed above. The reason we won the cup in 1993 was ROY with help from Muller and Carbo and Eric and we easily won that year with these fine players above (Corson, Chelios, and Skruly)
Cheers
Jyroe

mcphee 01-08-2004 08:51 AM

I loved Skrudland too, and Keane was always one of my favorites. Part of being a good GM is knowing when to trade someone.You can argue Muller's trade from a hockey point of view weighing declining abilities against intangibles, but it wasn't political. Moving Muller was a Savard decision, at least I believe it was. Whatever the true story was with Schneider and Roy, well, Patrick was going to win that battle. I'll dispute whether Damphousse was soft or not and he along with Muller was a key contributor in 93. I didn't like the Chelios trade as Denis Savard had little left by the time we got him and trading a player like Chelios is never a good thing. That being said, if half the Chelios stories are true, or just one in particular, there really was no choice. I tend to discount stories about off ice fun and frolic, but there are lines you can't cross and Chelios crossed too many of them. Then again maybe my reliable source isn't reliable. I do believe that including Keane in the Roy trade was sheer idiocy.

FerrisRox 01-08-2004 09:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jyroe Habs Fan
I have NOTHING against french players overall.
My Favorite player growing up in Saskatoon was #10 Guy Lafleur
Roy was a god to me until 1995!
I do not like soft players though, Turgeon, Damphousee.

I love the Habs team from 86 to 93 minus these boneheaded moves listed above. The reason we won the cup in 1993 was ROY with help from Muller and Carbo and Eric and we easily won that year with these fine players above (Corson, Chelios, and Skruly)

Well, just because you don't like Vincent Damphousse, doesn't mean you get to re-write history.

You list the reasons Montreal won the Cup in 1993, yet don't mention Damphousse. This is an odd ommision because he led the Canadiens in scoring that season with 97 points. Then, in the playoffs, he once again led them in scoring putting up 23 points in 20 games. Obviously, he was a huge part of the Habs winning the Cup and was the undisputed offensive leader on that team leading them in both regular season and post season scoring.

To says they would have 'easily' won the Cup with 'fine players' like Corson instead is quite a stretch, IMO.

In that same season, in 80 games, Shayne Corson had 47 points. A full FIFTY point difference. If you remove 50 goals from the Habs that season, they drop signifcantly in the standings. He more then doubled Corson's output. If you follow that formula and assume, best-case scenario, that Corson puts up 10 points in the playoffs, not only do the Habs not 'easily' win the Cup in 1993, but they most definitely lose not just the Cup, but are eliminated way earlier in the playoffs. Take a look at how many one-goal games (OT especially) Montreal was involved in. You replace Damphousse with Corson and concede all those points it's a very different story.

Your personal bias doesn't change facts.

Habs 01-08-2004 09:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mike8
Taking us back to the early '90s, I was wondering about these players.

Bellows - didn't have a long stay in Montreal but he had a couple good years here, including the Cup win. Over his career, would you call him a top line talent? Someone who could be on a Cup contending team's top line?

Yes. Top line material for sure. He could pot 30+ goals, and was solid in the corners.

Quote:

Muller - Personally, I felt he was part of the heart and soul for Montreal, and it was a mistake to move him at all. However, while he did put up some great numbers, he was inconsistent offensively. Would you consider him a top level player? Something more than an impact player--a guy you could mold a franchise around? This is talking about his prime years in Montreal, not the mucker we saw in Dallas by the way.
The heart, and soul, of the 93 team. A cornerstone in any franchise.

Quote:

Odelein - I have to admit, I've always had a soft spot for cornelius. Aside from that one year where he thrived offensively, would you say he was ever a legitimate top four defenseman in Montreal?
I often cringed when Odelein was playing defensive hockey. Probably a number 6 Dman on most clubs, perhaps a 7th. I always thought he was overused in Montreal, and had too much responsibility for his natural talent level.

BTW, Mike McPhee was one of my all time favorite players.

GentlemanOfLeisure 01-08-2004 09:59 AM

[QUOTE=PrairieHabber

Muller: A tremendous leader. It was great to see him wear the CH again at the Heritage Classic.[/QUOTE]

It made me sick to my stomach to see Muller in a canadiens uniform. I loved this guy like he was GOD. I cried the day the Devils traded him for Richer. Kirk Muller until 1996 was as good as they come.

mcphee 01-08-2004 10:03 AM

Habs, wasn't Mcphee/Skrudland/Lemieux a great line ? What a pain in the ass they must have been to play against.

Darz 01-08-2004 10:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mcphee
Habs, wasn't Mcphee/Skrudland/Lemieux a great line ? What a pain in the ass they must have been to play against.

That was a great line because they could play in any type of game and in almost any situation.

BTW didn't it used to seem like the habs had an endless supply of players like Lemieux, Mcphee, Skrudland, Keane, Carbonneau, Brunet, etc. those really good defensive forwards who also had the ability to net a few goals as well.

PrairieHabber 01-08-2004 10:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mcphee
Habs, wasn't Mcphee/Skrudland/Lemieux a great line ? What a pain in the ass they must have been to play against.

I loved that line. I instantly had memories of the 86 Cup final against the Flames...in OT...in Calgary...9 seconds in...Skruuuuudland.

Jyroe Habs Fan 01-08-2004 11:00 AM

Heh Prairie Habber, a little story about Skrudland and Odelein.
On a bright and hot sunny June day in Saskatoon, I witnessed watching my beloved habs at Harold Latrace arena with 250 Western Canadian Montreal Canadien Fan Club members. Included in that crowd was Norm Skrudland (father of Brian). That was a great night except for the sadness in the room for Norm who's son favorite team trading him a few months prior to Calgary for that &^$% loser Gary Leeman. What a stupid and unpopular move that was. Any hoo, Norm was somehappy for the win, but I know he wished his son was celebrating that night as well. Lyle Odelein was on the phone with our club pres. Jim in the champions locker room afterwards and had to get off to get interviewed by Dick Irwin. He told Dick that he was just talking to us and we cheered being mentioned in that special moment. The drinks flowed and we went on to the rink ice and carried our own cup around like our beloved habs, what a night, I will never forget it.
Jyroe

Habs 01-08-2004 12:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mcphee
Habs, wasn't Mcphee/Skrudland/Lemieux a great line ? What a pain in the ass they must have been to play against.

Heh, brings back terrific memories. Man, could that line ever change the outcome of a game fast.

When the boys went into the corner, it wasn't just a cycle... it was like a demolition derby.


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